TORONTO – Blue Jays fans have descended upon Toronto from across the country to take in the team’s first post-season game in 22 years.
And, according to dozens interviewed by The Canadian Press before the game, the Blue Jays will crush the Texas Rangers and won’t stop until they win the World Series.
To one of the clairvoyants, Glenn Smith, it’s been a long road back. A long road for Smith and his friend, Norm Bassett, who said they drove from Hay River, N.W.T. to Edmonton — a drive of more than 1,000 kilometres — before hopping on the red-eye to make it to Toronto a few hours before the opening pitch.
Smith, clad in a full Blue Jays uniform, was delirious. Delirious with joy, but mostly delirious because he hadn’t slept in more than two days, due to his commute.
“But we’re ready, ready for two games, then we gotta go back home and get some turkey in us,” Smith said, adding Tim Hortons iced cappuccinos are keeping him alive.
He said he was able to get playoff tickets because he bought season tickets for next year — allowing him the ability to buy playoff tickets before the public.
“We did, we got those, got fifth deck tickets, but thought that wasn’t good enough, so we upgraded to tickets in the lower bowl,” he said.
“We decided after 22 years its worth it, we gotta spend the money.”
Smith, who said he’s also a man of the people, figures he won’t actually buy season tickets next year, just give up his deposit.
“Logistical issues, you know,” he said, laughing.
His friend, Bassett, said the Jays are going to sweep the Rangers, take the American League in five games and win the World Series in six.
Many others outside the stadium agreed.
Angela Gleason and her husband, Michael, drove in from Barrie, Ont., hoping the Blue Jays replicate the result of the last playoff game they attended in 1993 when the team won the World Series.
Gleason said the game “means everything.”
“We finally have a great team to cheer for — not that the Leafs aren’t great, but here we have some promise.”
Dan Rennick came with his son from Edmonton for the big game.
“The game means a lot to me and it means a lot to have my son here with me to take in the playoffs,” said Rennick, whose long grey beard looks like it hasn’t been trimmed since the last time the Blue Jays were in the playoffs in 1993.
Smith’s Blue Jay fervour isn’t unique.
“I’m from the Northwest Territories and I can tell you the fever is throughout the country right now and I’m just glad we have the chance to get down here.”